The Avengers: On A Mission
For On A Mission, Beledo has assembled an impressive cast of fusion musicians; each with an innate understanding of the jazz-rock fusion genre. Listening to this album, one can easily imagine that this music came together quickly and effortlessly. Keyboardist Adam Holzman, who's been highly visible of late due to his work with Porcupine Tree singer / guitarist Steven Wilson, is the other primary soloist here. Wielding a highly modified Rhodes piano as his primary solo voice, he relies on digital keyboards to provide orchestral sounds to flesh out melodies and to back up Beledo's guitar solos. Bassist Lincoln Goines and drummer Kim Plainfield, both known for their work with guitarist Bill Connors, are quintessential professionals. Their playing, while never overly flashy or pushy, is always well above the minimum required to merely put the tunes across. In other words, they're putting some elbow grease into it, having fun with this music, and their enthusiasm easily carries over into the listening experience.
On A Mission is a fine record. Though it's not groundbreaking or startling in any way, the music is well-constructed and beautifully played by the leader and his consummately professional band. Beledo's sound on guitar is most closely allied to that of Holdsworth and Connors. The Uruguayan possesses a similar propensity for seamless legato phrasing, unpredictable intervallic leaps, and fluid, horn-like lines. Beledo's compositions are also substantial and distinctive without being overly complex. Most of the tunes are up-tempo, and all leave room for extended, muscular solos by the leader and Holzman, which is a good thing since both have plenty to say. "Exactly," "No Big Deal," and the title track exemplify this straight-ahead fusion approach, while tunes such as "Siddhartha's Return" and "Rauleando" touch on various aspects of progressive rock and Latin jazz without delving too deeply into either genre. "After All," a pretty waltz with a massively hooky melody, and "Jimmy O'Donnell's Air" are the album's mellower, more measured offerings but are no less interesting for that. Holzman's solo on the latter tune is particularly effective. The lone cover, Marcus Miller's "Portia" is given a sly, funky treatment with Beledo's slick guitar well out in front.
Track Listing: On a Mission; After All; Exactly; Portia; Siddhartha's Return; Rauleando; No Big Deal; Jimmy O'Donnell's Air.
Personnel: Beledo: guitar; Adam Holzman: Fender Rhodes, keyboards; Lincoln Goines: bass; Kim Plainfield: drums.
Record Label: Gudari Records
Style: Beyond Jazz